April 16th, 2021


Cancel the Oscars Already!

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published Feb. 15, 2019

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar show craziness continues, it just never seems to stop. This week the Academy announced their decision to present four categories — cinematography, film editing, makeup and hairstyling and live-action shorts — during commercial breaks on this year's Oscar show.

I guess they think that the general viewing public doesn't care about these aspects of movie making so they can eliminate them from the broadcast. It's no surprise that this news has caused widespread outrage within the movie industry and among movie fans.

Of course it's insulting to motion picture cameramen, editors, makeup artists, hairstylists, and filmmakers of live-action short subjects, but it's just as insulting to movie fans. I guess the powers that be figure that the TV audience only cares about the actors and the dresses. If that's the case why not just broadcast the red carpet pre-show and let it go at that?

You can't make a movie without a cinematographer, who is just as important as the director in the production of a motion picture. Film editing and production design are the other two most necessary elements of a production. If they're showing the award for best direction and best production design, then they should show the award for best cinematography.

But really, all the award categories need to be shown. If an element of filmmaking is important enough to rate an Oscar category, then it should be treated with the same respect as the others are at the ceremonies.

But this is just the latest example of the award show falling apart. Think of the academy host debacle surrounding Kevin Hart and following that, no one wanting to take on the hosting job. Hosting the Oscars isn't what it used to be when Bob Hope and Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal did the honors. Oscar show humor has been getting cruder and much more politically leftist for years and it's only getting worse.

I am fairly certain that the show producers prefer left-leaning bomb-throwers these days. They don't want so-called "clean, family-oriented" hosts anymore. Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, and Jay Leno might make pretty good Oscar hosts, but they're not toxic enough for today's Hollywood radicals. That's why you'll never see them doing the show.

Then, a few years ago, there was the extension of best picture nominees going from 5 to 10 so that they could include "popular" movies along with the ones that are really deserving for best picture. This change didn't do a thing for audience viewership, by the way, which is continuing its steep decline.

And trust me on this one, dropping the cinematographer, editor, makeup and hair, and short subject categories won't help either.

Growing up in the 50's and 60's our family, as did so many other families, watched the Oscar shows every year. It was a big TV event that we looked forward to. Even into the 70's and 80's we would plan our evening around the Oscars. Ordering a pizza, making popcorn, some people even threw Oscar parties, as we gathered around the set to watch the big stars come out dressed in their beautiful evening gowns and tuxedos. It was really exciting then.

But then times changed. Movies changed. The people who made movies changed. Glamour went out of style. Elegance and sophistication were gone. Classic Hollywood was history. The show tried for a long time to uphold its standards, but eventually those standards fell by the wayside. Television became vulgar, the movies became vulgar, and society in general became vulgar.

As the classic stars of yesteryear died off, so did the class of the Oscar show. And without class, without taste, and certainly without the high quality of movies being made, watching the Oscar show became less and less exciting.

And then came the hate.

All masks were pulled off and suddenly we saw the Hollywood crowd for the left-leaning nasty elites that they were. Contempt for Middle America was obvious. Anyone who didn't adhere to their far-liberal ideas were made fun of and ridiculed.

The show wasn't about honoring the best movies and move-makers anymore, it became a platform for their leftist political causes. The Academy Award show slowly but surely lost me. I stuck with it for a long, long time, but I finally gave up. It stopped being exciting. It wasn't fun. It got nasty, ugly, and insulting.

I haven't watched it in four or five years now. And that's saying a lot for me, who grew up loving the Oscar show and who became a filmmaker myself, and spent close to 30 years in the industry.

If anyone asks for my advice (and they won't) I say it's well past time to cancel the Academy Awards show entirely. Just shut it down. Let the Academy give out their awards privately at a dinner or luncheon and don't broadcast this thing anymore. That would be better than seeing it continue to bleed out slowly, drop by drop and year by year.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's been a JWR contributor since 1999.